Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"The Filial Sentiments of a Parricide" by Marcel Proust (1907)

IMarcel Proust (1871 to 1922), author of the monumental published in seven parts novel, À la Recherché du Temps  Perdu (Remembrance of things Past) is one of the true giants of world literature.  It has been numerous decades since I read this work.   Maybe I will try for one more read. 

I was very happy to find a short story by Proust in a recently acquired collection. The central event of the life of Proust was the death of his mother.  When that happened he moved into his famous corked line room and rarely came out the rest of his life.  

"The Filial Sentiments of a Parricide" is a beautiful story.  It treats in a very deeply felt way with the narrators
Feelings about the death of his mother.  It is interesting to me to read this story right after having read Andre. 
Gide's story "My Mother".  ( I will leave to amateur psychiatrists to wonder about the consequences of the depth of their love for mothers on their lives and art.). As one would expect, the story brilliantly explicated deep memories.  The story is partially structured through letters of condolences on the death of a parent and responses to these letters.   Proust makes very powerful usage of literary references, drawing from War and Peace, King Lear, and Sophocles, among others.  The narrator's correspondent is a Parricide.   In this act Proust allows us to see much of the deeply tragic nature of the human condition.   There are many layers of meaning and subtlety in this story.  I have barely touched on them.  

This story was translated by Barbara Anderson and I read it in Modern Masters of the Short Story edited by Charles Neider.   

I am having a very good time reading short stories set in Paris for Paris in July.

This is my third year as a participant in the Paris in July Reading Event hosted by Book Bath and Thyme for Tea.   I find this a very interesting and creative event of the sort that helps build the book blog community.  You will find  lots of reading ideas on the host blogs.

I next intend to read a story by Henri Balzac. 

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